KORN 420

Readings in Middle and Early Modern Korean

Targeted in the first instance at students majoring in Korean, the main purpose of this course is to learn the basics of the structure of (Late) Middle Korean as exemplified primarily by close reading of excerpts from the Korean translations of the Literary Sinitic (한문 漢文 ) biographical vignettes in the 삼강행실도 三綱行實圖 (Illustrated Conduct of the Three Bonds), a 15th-century illustrated Neo-Confucian ethics primer composed not long after the invention of the Korean vernacular script. The Middle Korean forms are juxtaposed with their reflexes in modern standard Korean (as well as some other varieties) in order to give a diachronic overview of the history and structure of the Korean language over the past 500 years or so. We will also pay attention to some of the socio-cultural and historical background surrounding the publication and print history of this important and popular text that Koreans read in various guises for more than 400 years. This course will add a diachronic dimension and historical depth to your knowledge of modern Korean and show you how the language has evolved over the past half millennium.